The Art Fund independent judging panel Stephen Deuchar, Director of the Art Fund, Ian Blatchford, director of the Science Museum Group; Rebecca Jones, BBC arts correspondent; Melanie Manchot, artist; and Monisha Shah, independent media consultant and Art Fund trustee visited Ferens Art Gallery today (Wednesday 9 May).
The Ferens Art Gallery is one of five finalists to be nominated for the prestigious Art Fund Prize Museum of the Year 2018. Celebrating the very best UK museums and galleries, it is the worlds largest art prize, offering £100,000 to the winning institution for their achievements, innovation and creativity in bringing collections and exhibitions to life.
The judges were met by Simon Green, Director of Cultural Services at Hull Culture and Leisure, Councillor Stephen Brady, leader of Hull City Council and Curator of Art, Kirsten Simister before joining members of the wider gallery team and key contributors to the gallerys programme.
The judges led by Stephen Deuchar were given a whistle-stop tour of the gallery with a chance to discover more about the learning programmes, Friends of the Ferens and audience development and marketing initiatives linked to the gallerys record-breaking 2017 exhibitions programme including hosting of the Turner Prize 2017 and the blue army of the Hull 2017 volunteers.
This was the gallerys chance to impress the judges and see the strong permanent collection including the four images from the Sea of Hull installation and the temporary loan from the Royal Collection Trust of Sir Anthony van Dycks triple portrait of Charles I. This partnership marks the second of five exceptional works generously lent by Her Majesty The Queen from the Royal Collection to Ferens between 2017 and 2021.
Simon Green, Director of Cultural Services at Hull Culture and Leisure, said: It was great to welcome Stephen Deuchar and the panel of judges to the city and the Ferens Art Gallery. We showed them the gallery, discussed the world-class exhibitions from 2017 and their impact. It was also a chance to talk to them about why Ferens now needs this award.
Art Fund Museum of the Year 2018 would be a game-changer not only for the gallery but for the city and thats why we are all working so hard to win it.
The level of support from people here in Hull has always been incredible but last year took us to a totally new level with audiences both locally and further afield and that really shone through. Whilst we know the other four cities will present very strong cases, last year was truly exceptional for the Ferens and to win would be an incredible honour. We believe the time is right for Ferens Art Gallery to tell its story to the world through the Art Fund Museum of the Year 2018 award.
Councillor Stephen Brady, added: The judges visit was our opportunity to show the judges just how special the gallery is and what it means to the people of Hull. We are incredibly proud of what the team and gallery have achieved and it was an honour to welcome them to the city and show them how committed we are to promote a strong legacy for art and culture in the city.
The winner will be announced Thursday 5 July.
To show your support visit the gallery, it is free and share your experiences, photos and best memories within the gallery or on social media using the #MuseumoftheYear and #loveFerens